N. B. Historical Society News – Spring 2017 – Knowing where you’ve been, helps you see where you’re going. A Periodic Publication of the North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society
HISTORICAL CENTER HOURS Tuesdays 9:00 a.m.-Noon March-December New displays are currently being developed. Stop by to see what’s new at the Center.
SPOTLIGHT ON OUR VOLUNTEERS
In addition to Center “open hours,” Tuesday mornings are work days for the NBOAHS volunteer team. Our volunteers are involved in a variety of activities that are essential to the operation of the Historical Center. And so, we would like to offer a series of “spotlights” on these volunteers.
MARY BOBB and PHYLLIS MERCER volunteer primarily in the second floor Research Room. Mary enters data on historical artifacts in the Society’s collection in the computer software program, Past Perfect, which documents donor, item details, and location of each artifact. Mary also organizes items in archival boxes, files, and incoming items.
Phyllis brings her experience at the Wood County Historical Society to our team. She also spends time cataloging artifacts. When items are donated to the Center they are given a catalogue number which is then entered into the computer. Some artifacts are placed in protective archival covers and those items which are not immediately placed on display are stored in archival boxes in the Research Room. When objects, photographs, and postcards come to the Society which are not connected to North Baltimore area history they are transferred to the appropriate historical entity.
SOCIETY MEMBERS are welcome to join us on Tuesday mornings to pursue any historical interest you may have. Join our team!!!
If you are a Civil War buff, a Disney fan, or were a child in the mid-1950’s, you probably have heard of the Great Locomotive Chase and seen the Disney movie of the same name starring Fess Parker. But, did you know that North Baltimore has a connection to this historic Civil War event?
The Great Locomotive Chase was a Civil War military raid which occurred in northern Georgia. James Andrews, who was a civilian, recruited another civilian, William Campbell and 22 volunteer Union soldiers from three Ohio regiments (2nd, 21st, and 33rd Ohio Infantry) to carry out his plan. Andrews’ proposal was a combined operation; General Mitchell and his forces would first move on Chattanooga; then, the Andrews’ Raid would destroy the rail line between Chattanooga and Atlanta. The thought was that these simultaneous actions would lead to the capture Chattanooga.
The raid took place on April 12, 1862 when the northbound passenger train with the locomotive known as The General stopped at the Big Shanty, Georgia to allow the crew and passengers to have breakfast at the
Lacy Hotel. Andrews chose to capture the train at Big Shanty station because it had no telegraph office.
Andrews planned to take the train north to Chattanooga while damaging or destroying track, bridges, telegraph wires, and track switches as they went in order to prevent the Confederate Army from moving troops and supplies from Atlanta to Chattanooga. The train’s conductor and Confederate soldiers chased the stolen train, first on foot, then by handcar and a succession of locomotives for 87 miles. Because the Union men had cut the telegraph wires, the Confederates could not send warnings ahead to forces along the railway. The raiders never got far ahead of the train conductor and soldiers because destroying the railway behind the hijacked train was a slow process. They finally abandoned the train a little over half way to Chattanooga and Andrews’ Raiders took to the woods.
Confederate soldiers eventually captured all the raiders and executed some of them as spies including Andrews. The remaining raiders were worried about also being executed and attempted to escape—eight succeeded. They all made it back safely to Union lines, including two who were aided by slaves and Union sympathizers and two who floated down the Chattahoochee River until they were rescued by the USS Somerset. The remaining six were held as prisoners of war and exchanged for Confederate prisoners.
All the raiders were charged with “acts of unlawful belligerency” and the civilians (Andrews and Campbell) were charged as unlawful combatants and spies and tried in military courts. Andrews was found guilty and executed by hanging. Seven others were convicted as spies and hanged in Atlanta on June 18. Their bodies were buried in an unmarked grave but were later reburied in Chattanooga National Cemetery.
Left to right: John Porter, William Bensinger, Wilson Brown, William Knight. Reunion of the last surviving Andrews’ Raiders–all four were volunteers from the 21st Ohio Infantry. Picture was taken in 1911 at the home of their captain, Isaac Cusac, in McComb. (NBOAHS Archives)
One of the 22 men who volunteered for Andrews’ Raid was John Reed Porter. Porter was a resident of McComb, OH and enlisted in Co. G, 21st Ohio Infantry in September 1861. The 21st was formed at Camp Taylor (Cleveland) and was made up of men from Hancock, Defiance, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, and Putnam counties. Although he overslept and did not participate in the actual capture of The General, he had an important part in the escape attempt. Porter was captured but escaped from Fulton County Jail in Atlanta in October 1862. He rejoined Union lines at Corinth, MS in November and was captured again in September 1863 and escaped in June 1864. He was wounded on a foraging expedition in North Carolina. He also saw action at the Battle of Ivy Hill and the Battle of Chickamauga.
Private John Reed Porter
After being mustered out in March 1862, he returned to his family’s farm in McComb. In 1872 Porter married Harriet Ray and they had two sons, Charles and George. He continued to farm and was the owner of a hardware store in North Baltimore. Porter’s store was one of only two businesses in the village when the first B&O train came through the area in 1873. John Reed Porter died at the VA hospital in Dayton on October 17, 1923 and was the last survivor of the band of 22 Union soldiers who captured the The General at Big Shanty. He is buried in McComb Cemetery along with another of the Andrews’ Raiders, William Bensinger. Captain Isaac Cusac of the 21st OVI is also buried in McComb. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton awarded some of the raiders with the first Medals of Honor. Porter was awarded the Medal of Honor on September 17, 1863. Bensinger was awarded the medal on March 25, 1863. His medal is on display at the McComb Library (113 S. Todd St.).
Twenty-four chairs with legs,
Ten chairs with one leg missing,
Gramophone with Caruso records,
Seven flags with 48 stars,
Doctor’s folding operating table.
And four white enamel bedpans.
Thirty-seven pieces of china, cracked,
Five handmade quilts, stained.
Two wooden washboards, mildewed,
Woman’s hat with ostrich plumes, molted,
Nurse’s uniform, circa 1910.
And three bedpans in gray graniteware.
Two pearl-handled buttonhooks,
Box of 207 handwritten postcards,
Five school desks carved with initials,
Six-and-a-half pairs of high-buttoned shoes,
Hot-water bottle without a stopper.
And two bedpans in blue spatterware.
Box of 145 photographs, unidentified,
Three straight razors,
Pair of men’s gray suede spats,
Fur-lined sleighcoat, moth-eaten,
Set of surgical saws and scalpels.
And one genuine Bennington bedpan.
President – Courtney Mays
Vice-President – Margaret Bobb
Secretary – Paula Miklovic
Treasurer – Gwenn Mauk
Newsletter Editor – Margaret Bobb
Board Members – Thomas Boltz, Janis Dukes, Janice Emahiser, Phyllis Mercer, Pam Seiler, Larry Slaughterbeck, and Rick Van Mooy
The North Baltimore Ohio Area Historical Society
229 North Main Street, P. O. Box 174
North Baltimore, Ohio 45872
2017 Membership – (January through December)
Single life $200
Couple life $300
Make checks payable to NBOAHS
All membership fees and donations are tax deductible.